Chairman D'Amato, Senator Sarbanes and members of the committee, thank you for inviting me to appear before you today. It is an honor to be selected by President Clinton and Secretary Cuomo as the nominee for the position of Assistant Secretary of the Office of Public and Indian Housing. I appreciate their confidence in my ability to continue to lead the Office of Public and Indian Housing into the 21 st Century.
Since I came to Washington four years ago as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Distressed and Troubled Housing Recovery and, most recent, as the Acting Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing, I have had the privilege of being part of the far- reaching and desperately needed transformation of public and Indian housing. It has truly been a learning experience. Through, then Secretary Henry Cisneros' vision and courage the Department of Housing and Urban Development began the difficult process of rethinking our delivery of housing services. We recognized the institutional deficiencies and acknowledged the need for change. During the ensuing years, public and Indian housing did, in fact, change.
HOPE VI was transformed from an ideal to a reality. Across the country we can see examples of its success --- Techwood Park /Howell in Atlanta, Lafayette Courts in Baltimore, Outhwaite Homes in Cleveland, Hillside Terrace in Milwaukee -- just to name a few. This is only the beginning and there is so much more to be accomplished. Cabrini-Green, Desire and others are still in the incubator, but clearly the transformation has begun.
In the Fall of 1996, the Congress passed the Native American Housing and Self- Determination Act, thus supplying us with the necessary tools to transform Indian housing. And we, in concert with the Tribes and'&ir designees, have moved forward with implementing that transformation. We have almost completed the historic task of developing a rule which recognizes the Tribes responsibility for Indian housing while maintaining appropriate federal oversight. After years of living under some of the worst conditions in the United States - lack of plumbing, electricity and running water - finally, Native Americans, too, can look forward to the transformation of their housing.
I, like most who come before you, am inspired. The source of my inspiration, however, is not simply the opportunity to serve the American people or to ensure that low-income families are provided adequate shelter in a decent environment. My inspiration is our children - your children, my children and most important, the children in public and Indian housing. Of the 1,250,000 public housing households, 49% are comprised of families with children. This translates into approximately 1.75 million children living in public housing alone. We cannot afford to lose those children; they must be given the opportunity to grow and thrive in meaningful ways. Only through the transformation of the worst housing conditions, can we meet this challenge.
Under the leadership of Secretary Andrew Cuomo we have continued the transformation process and moved closer to the ultimate goal of providing safe, decent and sanitary housing for all children. He has sought bold, creative ways to foster the change and, as a result, the Department has developed the 14UD 2020 Management Reform Plan which transforms our operational systems so that we can provide better housing services to our communities.
I look forward to the task ahead of us. As we anticipate the passage of a new housing reform bill and the implementation of Secretary Cuomo's 2020 Management Reform Plan, I am excited by the prospect of working with the Congress, public housing authorities and their residents and the localities to desiin a workable housing program which addresses the needs of the communities and most important, fosters hope for our children.
Again, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to appear before you today.
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